Consumer insight you can act on

ZapFi deploys consumer analytics to boost personalized interactions in real time

Mobile marketing company ZapFi helps organizations by providing sophisticated personalized marketing through its free Wi-Fi hot spots, called ZapFi Zones. It chose SAS as a partner to develop a technical solution for analyzing consumer surfing behavior and intent. ZapFi uses this information to send personalized advertisements to the mobile devices of consumers. The concept is being implemented in a number of European countries, and several major multinational organizations are already convinced of the benefits of ZapFi’s approach.

Personalized mobile marketing can provide … a distinct competitive advantage …. The tool also leads to a more comprehensive brand experience, both for the organization and the consumer. Meanwhile, consumers can profit from personalized special offers.

Stefaan Top

At the forefront

Mobile marketing has a great advantage in that it can lead to rapid, directly attributable results. And mobile consumers can be reached at the point of purchase. This gives mobile advertising the power to lead to direct selling as opposed to the far slower traditional marketing channels.

Based in Luxembourg, ZapFi intends to make use of the rising potential of mobile consumer interactions by building a one-to-one mobile marketing community in Europe. The company currently employs 40 people and develops business in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with more countries to come.

“We use ZapFi Zones, that is, zones around free Wi-Fi hot spots that are sponsored by organizations such as retail businesses or insurance and banking institutions,” explains Gery Pollet, ZapFi Founder and CEO. “The hot spots are typically located in a shop or customer service area of a sponsoring organization. Consumers surfing a ZapFi Zone with their mobile device receive personalized marketing messages sent by the sponsoring organization of that particular ZapFi Zone.”

Finding a match between consumers and shops

ZapFi collects various consumer-specific data using the ZapFi Zone platform. This includes name, age, gender and address, as well as browsing behavior – time spent online and categories of interest such as fashion, art, travel, music, sports or finance.

“We gather data every time a user logs in to a ZapFi Zone, so the browsing behavior information gradually becomes richer and, at the same time, more specific,” says Pollet. “This comprehensive approach enables us to build a personalized profile of each ZapFi-registered consumer.”

In addition, the company also has comprehensive information on each shop containing a ZapFi hot spot, including products on offer and any promotional activities in effect, Pollet explains. Using this information, it tries to find a real-time match between the consumer profiles and the ads by shop owners or brands in the shop, enabling ZapFi to send specific marketing messages and offers.

“This personalized mobile marketing can provide the organization with a distinct competitive advantage,” says Stefaan Top, President at ZapFi. “Because the landing page of a ZapFi Zone is personalized for each organization, the tool also leads to a more comprehensive brand experience, both for the organization and the consumer. Meanwhile, consumers can profit from personalized special offers.”

Building consumer profiles

ZapFi’s chief technical challenges were the development of a consumer profile builder and a reliable system that could identify promising matches between shop and consumer. “We knew that we needed a powerful analytical software system for this,” says Pollet. “SAS has put just such a system in place for us.”

An essential component is SAS® Text Analytics, which analyzes the content of web pages visited in order to uncover the consumer’s interest domains. A second component is SAS® Decision Manager, used for its profiling and segmentation capabilities as well as for its real-time predictive modeling capabilities.

A complete solution

ZapFi sent out a request for proposal to six companies for an analytical solution for its mobile marketing. Michel De Coster, ZapFi’s Executive Chairman, explains why they subsequently chose SAS as a partner.

“SAS offered the most complete solution for our needs and is No. 1 when it comes to dealing with huge amounts of data,” he says. “SAS already possessed the required technology. They also provided us with a straightforward match between shop and consumer.”

Moreover, a comprehensive advertising model included in SAS® Intelligent Advertising has proven to be successful in numerous projects, De Coster explains. “ZapFi’s advertising model excels in that it not only gathers a great deal of information about the consumers who use ZapFi Zones, but can also contact them in real time during the buying process when they are inside the store.”

An added benefit of SAS is that SAS tools can grow with ZapFi’s changing needs. “SAS immediately adapted to working with a start-up company and understood that it needed to provide a robust yet flexible platform to support ZapFi with its current and future needs,” says De Coster.

Over the past year, the platform has gradually evolved into an ever more sophisticated one-to-one mobile marketing tool that helps grow the business of participating organizations. Among the major organizations currently working with ZapFi are Belfius in Belgium, Total in the Netherlands and AB InBev in Germany.



Develop a technical solution for analyzing mobile browsing behavior, discover consumer intent and send appropriate personalized marketing messages.



  • Detailed consumer profiling based on web browsing behavior.
  • Reliable advertising strategies thanks to built-in modeling tools with a proven track record.
  • A personalized marketing tool with real-time capabilities.


The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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